COVERAGE OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS Meredith Savatsky, Lindsay K., Brittany, Spencer, Lauren M.
Blowing up the bubble
Is there a housing bubble and if so, what are the causes? But the report also fed growing concern among some observers that the rapid increases in housing prices represent a so-called housing bubble that could be at risk of a correction. July 25, 2005 Walter Molony, spokesman for NAR, added while there has been "an explosion in first time homebuyers using no-down payment loans" or other exotic mortgage products, he didn't think there was necessarily a direct correlation between the availability of flexible home financing products and the housing spike. October 21, 2005
Should I continue to buy? "Just when you think sales activity is ready to settle into a more sustainable pace, the housing market continues to surprise.” David Lereah- NAR’s chief economist “This performance underscores the value of housing as an investment and the importance of homeownership in fulfilling the American dream” July 25, 2005
What do government officials think? Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who does not believe there is a bubble in the national housing market, warned Congress in testimony last week that there could soon be declines in prices at least some of the markets that have seen home prices soar July 25, 2005
In 2005, what do experts predict? Ellen Bitton, president and chief executive of Park Avenue Mortgage Group, said the market is more likely to undergo stabilization rather than any major decrease in valuation. She estimated that housing prices would return to a more stable 3 to 5 percent growth rate once it returns to a buyers market. October 21, 2005
In 2006, what do experts predict? Prices will flatten in most ex-boomtowns this year, and next year will be worse, says David Stiff, Fiserv's chief economist. "A lot of markets--particularly those where prices have increased dramatically compared with income--will see drops by late 2007." That doesn't mean, however, that real estate is about to crash across the U.S. …"There are sizable parts of the nation's housing market that will be just fine," saysEconomy.com’s Marc Zandi May 22, 2006
Is the housing bubble really that bad? David Seiders, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said that in light of those concerns and the increase supply of homes on the market, the slowdown in building is a good thing for the market. April 18, 2006 A housing-price drop would not be bad for everyone. In fact, many canny real-estate investors have been hoping for just such a hit… Falling markets can even sometimes have a positive effect on how much landlords can charge for rents by increasing the demand for rental units January 22, 2006
Should I worry? Take a deep breath. We're not forecasting a nationwide housing collapse. For one thing, the vast expanse of America between the coasts was never touched by real estate mania and is in no danger of a meltdown. May 5, 2006 New York, Citigroup senior economist Steven Wieting said that concerns about a recession due to softness in the housing market are overdone. November 27, 2006
What exactly happened? Feb 7, 2007: HSBC is the first major bank to make an announcement about increasing losses of subprime mortgages. April 2, 2007: New Century Financial (one of the nation’s largest subprime mortgage lenders) files for bankruptcy. June 2007: Two hedge funds run by Bear Stearns have increasing losses. This is when Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs fear trouble. September 18, 2007: The Federal Reserve starts cutting interest rates and loaning money directly to Wall Street Firms. July 11, 2008: The FDIC takes over IndyMac and warns that more bank failures lay ahead. March 16, 2008: JPMorgan Chase and Co acquires Bear Stearns. September 6, 2008: Paulson announces a takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac September 15, 2008: Bank of America takes over Merrill Lynch. Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy
How can I protect myself? More banks are in trouble according to the FDIC. Is your bank next on the list? Here's what to look for. 1. Get the numbers 2. Get the ranking 3. Know the signs 4. Don’t panic August 27, 2008
Who can I turn to?
…and BOOM! goes the dynamite
What is the government doing to help? By the end of the weekend, the Federal Reserve had stepped in to try to calm the markets by announcing plans to loosen its lending restrictions on the banking industry. This month, the U.S. government took over mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That was Washington's most dramatic attempt yet to shore up the nation's faltering housing market, which is suffering from record foreclosures and falling prices. That plan calls for the government to run Fannie and Freddie until they are on stronger footing September 15, 2008
Can I easily understand what is happening? World-wide repercussions: Stocks rallied around the world as details of the rescue plan emerged with New York's benchmark Dow gaining 7.3 percent since late Thursday, its biggest two-session gain since October 2002. London's FTSE 100 jumped 8.8 percent, Shanghai closed up a record-breaking 9.5 percent and Hong Kong gained 9 percent as investor confidence returned. Sept 20, 2008
Can I easily understand what is happening? AIG bailout: When you think about putting an automaker out of business, you put tire makers out of business, you put seat makers out of business, you put all sorts of things out of business. It's the same thing with AIG. There are tentacles. They're just so connected to so many other parts of the economy that the government deemed it more dangerous and potentially more expensive to the economy to have it fail than to give them this loan
How does this affect me? As a senior citizen? For older Americans, it's a particularly vulnerable time. The stock market is down, the housing market is slumping, and costs for things such as groceries and gas remain higher than in previous years. Sept 19, 2008 As a student? But students like Hahn remain on the fringe. Even after being awarded an out-of-state tuition waiver, which lets him pay the same tuition as a resident from Georgia, he says he has borrowed all he can in federal loans. His parents, who are facing their own financial struggles, can't co-sign for a loan with a lower interest rate or better terms Sept 18, 2008
What’s going on abroad?
Today and Tomorrow
Am I getting a broad-range of information? double dip recession, job growth, stimulus plans, unemployment rates, real estate progress and failures, the state of the stock market
Am I consuming biased information? President Obama Phyllis Caldwell (head of the Treasury Department's Homeownership Preservation Office) CEO’s of major banks, hedge funds, and mortgage companies including Countrywide, Bank of America, Economists from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (LakshmanAchuthan)
In 2010, what do experts predict? “Unfortunately the unemployment rate is probably going to increase again before it continues on a downward trend. That's primarily because the jobs recovery has been slow enough that many people who are unemployed are not actively seeking job opportunities… Unemployment could go up to 9.7% to 9.8% to 10%.”
What steps can I take now? “How to raise a family during the crisis” “Business etiquette and other ways to help the job search” “Mogul Brothers offer rich advice through tough times” (lessons learned through global recession that could be applied to any business owner) “What to do with what you have” “Best cities for business” “How to buy with so-so credit”